I would define a spiritual person as a seeker of truth and using our God given gift of discernment to decipher all the distortion and confusion we all face in our daily lives. It is understanding that we live in inseparable worlds, the metaphysical and the physical, mind and matter, the unseen and seen. A spiritual person develops the gift of discernment, our sixth sense to help find their Way.
The Way is referred to as the Way by the World’s great teachers is not one single path, but many paths leading to the same destination. Jesus said “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Lao Tzu often refers to Tao as the Way to Heaven. Jesus called the Tao the Kingdom of heaven or the Kingdom of God. Later orthodox Christians misunderstood Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom. Jesus taught the Kingdom is within us and around us.
Buddha tells us to practice the Way and to seek truth. Being in harmony with the Way is even better. Lao Tzu explains the Way is complete in itself. All blessings come from it, and holds nothing back to anyone. Krishna said those who find the Way are those who have love and forgiveness in their hearts.
A spiritual person is not confined to one religion or belief system, but seek to find their Way using all the tools available today.
When we use the term, “the self” we are usually referring to our identity, the ego, the face we wear to maintain our illusion of individuality. This includes our subconscious mind and everything our brains produce that make us believe we are separate and apart from everything in the universe. So what is the Self?
Philosophers have pondered that question for centuries. Socrates, believed to be born in 470 BC, maintained that our true self is our soul. Rene Descartes, born 1596, thought there is one thing of which we can be absolutely certain: “I think, therefore I am.” William James, born 1842, added that there’s one thing about our conscious experience that we’re never uncertain about; we’re never uncertain whose conscious experience it is. It’s mine, of course. But who is this “me”? Jean-Paul Sartre, born 1905, believed every individual to be a “being for itself that has a self consciousnesses.
Western philosophers typically try to figure out the theoretical truth, going from there to practical applications. Eastern philosophers tend to speak of truth as something you approach through practice rather than theory. In important ways, Eastern philosophy does not even ask the same question and offers a different answer. Hinduism, Buddhism, meditation, and yoga are alternative approaches. Self to them, refers to what lies within each of us and is what remains when our bodies dies. Self is what we discover when we wake up and is all that exists. Self in Hinduism is called Atman, and the self is Brahman or God. The difference between self and God is our distinction we make ourselves. Remove that distinction and all that remains is God, or universal mind or Tao.
Gnostics, believed to be the first true Christians, referred to Self as the Divine spark, and God as the Divine Light from which the spark emanated. Even Jesus tells us in Luke 17:20–21, the Kingdom is not coming in any way you can observe. The Kingdom of God is already here, within your midst.
The word philosophy means “love of wisdom”. It is a love of wisdom that guides all of us to explore the fundamental questions about where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going. The search to understand the self is an individual effort. We are all philosophers, with our opinions, ideas and concepts. It is interesting to explore what others think and believe, but ultimately, we have to find our own way. With the world at our fingertips, we can explore and discover how different cultures, religions and belief systems are so intertwined.
Our teachers speak of the self. Jesus said in the Dialogue of the Savior, “Those who have truly found the self within recognized that it exists everywhere”. Buddha tells us “Everyone has recognized the Self, one’s essential nature. But few realized it.” Krishna said “Recognized that all things exist in the One, and you will become the One.” Lao Tzu provided his insight in the Tao Te Ching, Wisdom comes from knowing oneself. He who knows himself is enlightened.”
Consider the self as your divine essence, your soul, your spirit living in a material world. To know the self, this four step exercise can be performed to produce an acceleration of knowing the self. The first step is the cornerstone. The moment contains love as we consciously seek that love in our awareness and understanding in everything we do. The second step is to realize the universe is one being. When we see others, family, friends, strangers, and even enemies, we see the the Creator. The third step is Gaze into a mirror, and see the Creator. Fourth step is Gaze into the world and all of creation and see the Creator. You can build your foundation of these steps by being mindful and through meditation, contemplation, and prayer.
I am not I. I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see, whom at times I manage to visit, and whom at other times I forget; who remains calm and silent while I talk, and forgives, gently, when I hate, who walks where I am not, who will remain standing when I die.
The wisdom and insight we can learn from ancient texts is never ending. More than 5000 years ago the ancient Chinese masters of esoteric healing came to the understanding that everything is composed of the same energetic substance called Qi. They observed the oneness and wholeness in all existence and everything is energetically interconnected as one body. The ancient Chinese believed all transformations happened under the influence of Qi. Birth, aging and death of all things with Heaven and Earth, including wind, water, mountains, forest, humans, animals and insects are caused by and formed out of Qi. Qi is the constant energy motion within all things.
One ancient Chinese text of mystery and beauty is the The Daodejing, believed to be written by the sage Lao Tzu. It is the most translated text into English next to the Bible. Daoism is the second of the three major philosophies of China. The Daodejing responds to the political, family centered morality of Confucius; rejecting man-made hierarchies and arguing the value of simplicity and humility over power and ambition. It can be compared today with Capitalism and Spirituality. The dao is the way of nature in a universe that consists of opposites in harmony, and de (virtue, integrity) is an innate human strength. Following the dao brings humans freedom, serenity, and longevity. The original conception of Dao was simply the observation that reality has a certain way about it. The “Way’ encompasses all of existence. Some may call it the way to God, an atheist may call it the laws of nature, all pointing to the same thing, something I call Infinite Intelligence.
The Dao can be considered as two-fold, one represented by the law of physics describing the universe and it’s manifestations such as energy and light; and at the personal level describing the human sphere and its manifestation such as our thoughts, emotions and actions. The Daodejing or Tao Te Ching was trying to tell us these principles. If we can understand these forces are inseparable, the physical and metaphysical, it will make our spiritual journey richer and more fruitful.
If one looks for Dao, there is nothing solid to see; If one listens for it, there is nothing loud enough to hear. Yet if one uses it, it is inexhaustible.
Consider the Dao as Infinite Intelligence, pure Universal Energy of divine mystery and the sage Lao Tzu a divine messenger of the 5th century BCE. Lao Tzu, Buddha, Krishna and Jesus were divine messengers providing the way for all to see. Lao Tzu tells us the “Act in harmony with the Way and you will become the Way. Nurture the way within yourself and you will live a virtuous life.” Buddha said ” Those that follow the way are like dry grass. They need to be protected from the flames of desire.” While Krishna tells us ” Let those who are wise seek the Way. Those who find it will not return. ” The apocalypse Jesus tells us to “Open the door to the Way that is within you, so that you may be a guide to those who wish to follow you. Encourage all those who are ready to follow the Way and receive its blessings.”
The Daoists understood Dao as the appropriate way for humans to live their lives. But for the Daoists, following the way was participating in the Dao of nature, the changes and rhythms of the universe and the natural world. To neglect the way of nature was the root of society’s misery. They believe if a person follows the “Way” or “path” and lives a life of virtue, then the way of nature, heaven, Earth, and humanity will be balanced.
There is a strong element of mysticism by losing one’s sense as a separate, individual self while perceiving a much greater reality. This mystical sense is both encouraged by and expressed through particular practices and ways of being in the Daodejing. One of the most important practices involves diminishing the ego; such as the cravings for attention, recognition, and control. True sages were not interested in the material world but for the welfare of others. “Sages blend into the world,” says the Daodejing. To blend into the world, one lives a simple existence.
A simple existence is the understanding Qi is the Catalyst for everything. The ancient Chinese believed that the Qi of Yin and Yang fulfils the “Great Void” (Wuji) enveloping all things and leaving nothing outside its boundary.
“Dao is forever and he that possess it, Though his body ceases, is not destroyed.”
The goal is balance yin, our feminine side, and yang, our masculine side and make into one. According to the Chinese, energetic fields are divided into Yin and Yang. The theory of yin and yang energy represents the duality of balance and harmony within the body as well as the universe. Earth energy is Yin while Heaven energy is Yang. Those who master and balance the bodies Yin-Yang energy were considered “Tian Shen” or Xian meaning “immortals”.
The different sacred texts from different cultures of the world have essentially the same message. For example balancing yin and yang, the feminine and masculine, and the 114th saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas. Simon Peter said to him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Valley Spirit never dies.
It is named the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
It is there within us all the while;
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.
In my humble opinion, woman and man are equal and the more we work together in the name of love, compassion and service to others, we can create the world where every human can learn and discover their true selves. The sage Laozi said about the self, “ Some people recognize the self and are amazed. Other people who hear of the Self just wonder. Still others do not understand at all.” He also speaks of love when he said “ The world is transformed by those who love all people, just as you love yourself”.
It starts with us!!!!!
In 1972, excavation in the Mawangdui Han Dynasty tombs in Hunan Province uncovered a silk relic that portrayed drawing of Do yin postures dating prior to the third century BCE. This silk scroll is consider the first complete set of Qigong movement with over half of these illustrates posture are of animal movements used to purge the body’s channels to regulate the Yin and Yang and treat illnesses.